How To Make Fresh Ricotta

Fresh ricotta draining over the sink
Okay, the first thing I have to say is, hang in there with me for a few minutes.  I know you are thinking, make your own cheese?  REALLY?  Here on this blog where I have said about a million times, it’s all about getting in and out of the kitchen in 30 minutes or less?  Has she finally eaten one too many piece of bacon and gone off her rocker?  

Hang in there with me while I promise you these three things:

1. If you can boil water, you can make your own ricotta cheese.

2. It will take you less than 15 minutes from start to finish.

3. It will taste so good, you will wonder why on earth it took you so long to figure out that you should have been making your own ricotta cheese for the past hundred years.

4. It will take all your willpower not to stand there next to your bowl of delicious fresh ricotta and not eat it all in one fell swoop.

 

Okay, that’s four things, and I have no idea what a fell swoop is.  But you get my drift.  Try it with me just once, and I promise you will be hooked for life.  Here’s what you do.

Get out your handy strainer and put it in your sink.  Line it with a little cheesecloth, which you can find in your supermarket, sometimes with the baking stuff and sometimes with the laundry stuff, for mysterious reasons.  I usually fold it into a square that has about 3-4 layers until it looks like this.  This will take you two minutes.


Now take a nice heavy saucepan and pour in 4 cups of whole milk, one cup of buttermilk, and 1/3 cup of heavy cream.  Set it on the stove and put the heat on to medium high and bring it to a boil.  In the early going, you may want to clip a candy thermometer on to the pot so you can watch the temperature, because when the temperature gets to about 185 degrees, the curds (the solid part) will have separated from the whey (the liquid part), and it’s time to strain it.  If you don’t have thermometer don’t fret, because you can pretty much see it happening.  The milk mixture will boil, and it will gradually curdle and separate into the solids (the curds) and the watery looking liquid (the whey).  This will take about 10 minutes…sometimes less.  When it does, take the pot off the burner and reach for your handy slotted spoon, and start scooping out the solids, letting the liquid drain off.  Drop the spoonfuls of solids into your strainer.

I like to sprinkle a little coarse salt onto the cheese every couple of spoonfuls or so.  Once you are done, let it drain for about 2 minutes (if you like your ricotta moist) or 5 minutes (if you like it drier).  You can leave it right in the strainer, or you can be like I was when I first made it and hang it dramatically from your kitchen faucet (see picture above).  Taste it after a few minutes…if it’s gotten too dry just stir in a tablespoon or two of milk, and if it’s too moist for you, let it keep draining.

 

Fifteen minutes have now passed, and you have made your own ricotta cheese.

And if you are like me, you will never even LOOK at those ricotta containers in the supermarket again.  

Things you can make with your glorious ricotta include…

Summer Lasagna.  A cool lasagna that includes fresh zucchini, sweet little cherry tomatoes, basil from your back yard…and ricotta.

Zucchini Carpaccio.  Almost as fun to pronounce as it is to eat.  Almost.

Or you can cook up some soft scrambled eggs with fresh chives and during the last minute of cooking, swirl in some ricotta.  Heaven.

Or you can just stand there at your kitchen counter and eat it with the closest available spoon.   I may or may not have done this at times.

Happy fresh ricotta.  No fear! 

How To Make Fresh Ricotta

How To Make Fresh Ricotta

Ingredients

4 cups whole milk
One cup buttermilk
1/3 cup heavy cream
Coarse salt

Directions

1. Line a fine mesh strainer with several folds of cheesecloth and set it in your sink.
2. Combine milk, buttermilk and cream in medium heavy saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil until cooking thermometer registers 185 degrees...if you don't have a thermometer, keep an eye on it to see when the curds (the solid white parts) are mostly separated from the whey (the cloudy liquid). This will take about 10 minutes...stir a couple of times during the boiling process.
3. Remove from heat and using a slotted spot, scoop spoonfuls of the curd into the cheesecloth-lined strainer, sprinkling with a little salt every few spoonfuls or so.
4. Let the ricotta drain for about 5 minutes and then taste to check the consistency. If you like it drier, then let it drain a little more. If you like it moister, stir in a tablespoon or two of milk. This ricotta is best used right away, but will keep for a day or two in the fridge.


Comments

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  1. I make my own Feta by a similar method – using white vinegar to curdle. Hang the cheese for a while then press it until quite firm. I made my own ‘press strainer’ by poking holes in a plastic sour cream container with a darning needle, cut the rim off the lid and set it on top of the cheesecloth wrapped cheese, top with a heavy can (tomatoes). Save some of the drained liquid to store the ‘feta’ for 3-5 days.

  2. Cindy Hawkins says:

    This is s great recipe, I just made the ricotta and OMG it is fabulous. Very creamy and could eat right out of the bowl. I went ahead and made cannoli cream . Thanks for a wonderful recipe.

  3. About how much ricotta does it yield? Do you just discard the whey?

    • It makes about 2 cups, give or take. And they whey makes fantastic pancakes if you sub it in for the liquid in your pancake mix!

  4. Beautifulllllll says:

    Can you make this low fat/ non fat? can you use SKIM MILK LOW FAT BUTTER MILK AND 1/2 FAT CREAM???

    • I’m honestly not sure as I have one ever made it with the ingredients in the posted recipe…sorry not to be more help on that one!

  5. This seems too good to be true! I can’t wait to make my own ricotta. Thanks for the inspiration and sharing this great recipe with us

  6. I too thought, how good could this be? It’s ricotta cheese. Boy, was I wrong. This is amazing. THe recipie is easy to follow, the cheese is moist and smooth and full of flavor, and clean up is next to nothing. Great recipie, and I’ll never buy store bought again.

  7. Hello! I dont have access to buttermilk, can I make this without it? Thanks!

    • Hi there – I’ve never tried it, but I know folks make buttermilk out of regular milk and lemon juice. If you scroll the comments or Google it you’ll see how it works..

  8. I have been planning to make Ricotta cheese at home but its just they can’t last long as cheddar cheese. I will be using yogurt instead of cream as in Malaysia its very hard to find cream.

  9. Babs mom of 5 says:

    I made low fat ricotta using this recipe: 5 cups skim milk, 1/2 tsp salt…cook until it reaches 190 degrees, stirring to keep milk from scorching. Remove from heat and add 4Tbsp lemon juice, stir twice, then let sit 5-7 minutes. Strain as directed in recipe above^^^ It turned out beautifully!!!

  10. How long will the ricotta last in the fridge? I would love to make some and store it for lunches during the week!

    • It will last a few days, but it might dry out a bit – just stir in a little milk though and it should loosen back up!

  11. Do you stir the liquid mixture while waiting for it curdle or leave it alone? Cant wait to try this!

    • You can stir towards the end to get a sense of how things are thickening up, but you don’t have to. You definitely don’t have to stir it in the beginning – just let it do its thing. Have fun!

  12. Shellie Martin says:

    I love homemade Ricotta made with goats milk products even more! I make buttermilk with goats milk as well to use in all my cheese recipes that call for it. Not big on store bought goats milk at all as it drastically changes to a strong flavor once pasteurized, so would recommend buying it from someone who milks their own goats.

  13. Karen Valencia says:

    Is the cheese cloth something you can wash and re-use, or do you use new pieces each time?

    • I use new pieces each time, but I don’t see any reason why you couldn’t rinse it VERY thoroughly and use it again.

  14. Barbara says:

    Thank you so much for posting this. I can’t wait to try it. One day I brought a dozen cannolis to work. An Italian nurse tried one. The other nurses asked her how they were. She told them that they were horrible, “Don’t even try them.” The next day she told me that they were so good, she ATE THEM ALL. She told me how she told everyone how bad they were so that they wouldn’t eat any. She said, “They wouldn’t appreciate them”. I assume because they’re not Italian. My secret ingredient to make the cannolis is amaretto.

  15. Bethany says:

    This tasted really good but it only made about half a cup when I tried it. I don’t know I got such a small amount.

    • Hi Bethany = it might be because you took it off the heat a little too soon, before all the curds had a chance to form. If the liquid was still kind of milky looking that could be the reason – that’s my guess. Next time leave it simmering a little bit longer (it won’t hurt it) and you should get about 1.5 cups or so.

  16. Reading over all the comments, I think I may have gotten impatient and not let it cook long enough, or maybe cooked it too long or over stirred it. I did not get curds large enough to scoop out. The result tasted fine and it was great stuffed inside your summer lasagne.
    I used organic buttermilk-the only thing I could find without carrageenan and that was labeled as being pasturized, but not ultra-pasturized, whole cream from a local dairy that was only grade a cream and whole milk. As it has set, it has become a very compact cheese rather than crumbly or creamy. Adding whey back to it allows it to become spreadable again. Any ideas on what I might have done wrong.
    As to washing the cloth, my great grandmother had a pot for boiling hers with some vinegar and baking soda, then hang dry or if you have a sweater rack for your dryer, use the air fluff cycle. If you do wash it in your machine, run a vinegar and baking soda wash using hot water and if available the sanitizing cycle, then place your cloth in a lingerie bag and wash on hot water with vinegar and baking soda. Hang dry or air fluff .. no laundry detergent, fabric softner or dryer sheets.

    • Hi Nika! I never stir mine except for a little bit at the end just to check out the curds – in the beginning a thermometer can help you judge if they are where they need to be. And thanks for the cloth cleaning tips!

  17. I have been reading and re-reading this post for a few days, how good could it be? followed the recipe to the letter, and smiled with satisfaction to myself as i spooned it into the cloth, it LOOKED like ricotta, and it SMELLED like ricotta……. i had to taste just a little, as it drained, i mean, it would have bee rude not to would it? its PERFECTION, i dont know how, i dont know why but its THE best ricotta ever. I made a 2nd batch as that one drained, and added very finely snipped chives to it with the salt, spread on from the oven buttered onion bread, [insert red faced smiley] we ate it all. the world NEEDS to know about this recipe, i have exhausted my friends telling them about it!

  18. Fi, this comment made my day – I went through exactly the same process (including with my friends!) :) :)

Trackbacks

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